paricCheda 1 - dvitIya mithyAtva vichAra: (part 1)

In the previous section, we considered the first definition of mithyAtva, sadasat vilakshaNatvam, proposed by Sri PadmapAda, the panchapAdikAkAra. Previous posts on this topic are available here:

The second and third definitions of mithyAtva were proposed by Sri PrakAshAtma yati, in the panchapAdika vivaraNam, or vivaraNam in short, which is a commentary on PadmapAda's panchapAdika.

The nyAyAmritakAra takes up the second definition of mithyAtva for refutation.
प्रतिपन्नोपाधौ त्रैकालिकनिषेधप्रतियोगित्वं वा मिथ्यात्वं । The counter-positive (pratiyogi) of the absence in three periods of time in the locus of its appearance is mithyA. In other words, the absence of an object in all three periods of time in the very location in which it appears is mithyA. We need to pay attention to three things in the definition
1) pratiyogi - the object that is mithyA
2) pratipanna upAdhi - the substratum in which it appears
3) traikAlika niShedha - the absolute absence - in all three periods of time

The objections of the nyAyAmritakAra - the ontological status of the absence

The refutation of this definition by the nyAyAmritakAra is around the sattA, the degree of reality, of the absence. In the case of the shuktirUpya, the shell-silver, the silver that appears is prAtibhAsika. The shell is vyAvahArika. What is the degree of reality of the silver's absence in the shell?

He asks:
ननु प्रतिपन्नोपाधौ त्रैकालिकनिषेधस्य तात्त्विकस्य अद्वैतहानिः, प्रातिभासिकसत्त्वे सिद्धसाधनं, व्यवहारिकत्वेऽपि तस्य बाध्यत्वेन तात्त्विकसत्त्वाविरोधतया अर्थान्तरं, अद्वैतश्रुतेरतत्त्वावेदकत्वं च तत्प्रतियोगिनः अप्रातिभासिकस्य प्रपञ्चस्य पारमार्थिकत्वं च स्यात्  ।

ननु प्रतिपन्नोपाधौ त्रैकालिकनिषेधस्य तात्त्विकस्य अद्वैतहानिः If the absence of the object in all three periods of time is pAramArthika, has ultimate reality, then it contradicts advaita because there would be two objects that have pAramArthika sat, ultimate reality - Brahman, and the absence referred to here.

प्रातिभासिकसत्त्वे सिद्धसाधनं if the absence is prAtibhAsikam, then it is proving that the world is real, which is my position. That is siddha sAdhana. Take the example of an object, say a pot, which is actually present, but due to some error in perception, it is not seen. In such cases, the absence of the pot is prAtibhAsikam, but the pot itself has existence. Therefore, by calling its absence as prAtibhAsikam, it ends up proving the pratiyogi's reality.

व्यवहारिकत्वेऽपि तस्य बाध्यत्वेन तात्त्विकसत्त्वाविरोधतया अर्थान्तरं if the absence is vyAvahArika, then by definition, it will be sublated. If the negation itself is sublatable, it may not be able to disprove the ultimate reality of the counterpositive. Thus the sublatability of the absence may end up proving the reality of the thing which was considered absent. This is a case of arthAntara, proving something other than what was intended. It ends up proving the ultimate reality of the world.

To explain, if the absence is vyAvahArika, the pratiyogi cannot be vyAvahArika - it is not possible for a thing and its absence to have the same degree of reality and for the two to co-exist simultaneously in one place, as that would be a contradiction, viruddham.  The advaitin does not accept the naiyyAyika concept of avyApya vritti (discussed in the previous post).

However, it is possible for absence to be of a different degree of reality than its pratiyogi. For example, the absence of the shell-silver in the shell is vyAvahArika, but the shell silver is prAtibhAsika. The shell-silver is absent when it appears. Similarly, as we saw in the previous example, when the absence was taken as prAtibhAsikam, the pot was vyAvahArika and its absence was prAtibhAsika. The pot is not seen despite being present.

Therefore, the nyAyAmritakAra argues that if the absence of the world is vyAvahArika, it is possible for the pratiyogi to have pAramArthika sattA, as such an abhAva would not be contradictory to the pAramArthika sattvam of its pratiyogi, the world. If the world is pAramArthika, it ends up proving something other than what the advaitin wants, leading to arthAntara.

अद्वैतश्रुतेरतत्त्वावेदकत्वं च Further, it leads to advaita shruti teaching unreal things. The advaitin claims that the mithyAtva of the world is on the basis of shruti statements such as neha nAnAsti kinchana (there is no multiplicity here). If the mithyAtva (the absence of the world) is really vyAvahArika, then it is ultimately sublatable, ie such an absence is mithyA. advaita shruti, which teaches this mithyA absence, is teaching an unreal thing. The prAmANya of veda, the validity of what it is teaching is itself called into question.

तत्प्रतियोगिनः अप्रातिभासिकस्य प्रपञ्चस्य पारमार्थिकत्वं च स्यात् - the pratiyogi of the absence, which is the non-prAtibhAsika world, will end up being pAramArthika.  If the abhAva of the world is vyAvhAhArika, what is the nature of the world? It cannot be prAtibhAsika, because the advaitin himself agrees it is not prAtibhAsika. If it is vyAvahArika, then both abhAva and pratiyogi will be of the same order of reality, and that will be a contradiction. Therefore it cannot be vyAvahArika. Therefore the only option is pAramArthika.

The reply of the siddhikAra - if the absence was pAramArthika
इति चेत् न The siddhikAra says, if this is your argument, no. 

He does not refute the option of abhAva having prAtibhAsika sattA because that is not advaita siddhAnta. He takes up the first option, abhAva being pAramArthikam. 

प्रपञ्चनिषेधाधिकारिणीभूतब्रह्माभिन्नत्वान्निषेधस्य तात्त्विकत्वेऽपि नाद्वैतहानिकरत्वं What is the abhAva that is being talked about? The nature of the absence of the world is the substratum, Brahman itself. If such an abhAva is tAttvika, ie pAramArthika, that does not harm non-duality. When shruti says neha nAnAsti kinchana, the "iha"- 'here', referred to is brahman. Thus the negation is adhikaraNAtmakam. It is Brahman itself.

नच तात्त्विकाभावप्रतियोगिन: प्रपञ्चस्य तात्त्विकत्वापत्ति: Further, there is no requirement that an abhAva that is pAramArthika needs to have a pratiyogi that is pAramArthika. Thus, this does not lead to the world have pAramArthika sattA. Why not?

तात्त्विकाभाविनि शुक्तिरजतादौ कल्पिते व्यभिचारात् because while the absence of the shell silver is tAttvika (meaning vyAvahArika here), the shell silver itself is prAtibhAsika. Thus, it is not necessary that the reality of the absence implies the reality of the object.

Now, even though the siddhikAra has justified that abhAva can be pAramArthika by arguing that abhAva is really the the substratum, ultimately his view is that abhAva is vyAvahArika. The reason for this is that every abhAva needs a pratiyogi. If the nature of abhAva is Brahma svarUpa then what pratiyogi can there be? As Brahman is completely free of relations of any kind, there can be no anuyogi-pratiyogi relation with anything.

It is possible to address this objection by saying that it is possible for the same vastu to have two different aspects - one with relations and one without. Take Dasharatha for example. He is well known as Rama's father. Therefore, the one and the same Dasharatha has dasharathatvam ("being Dasharatha" and pitrtvam ("being a father"). One cannot talk about pitrtvam without a relationship with the son, therefore the attribute of pitrtvam has a relation inherent in it, whereas Dasharathatvam does not presuppose any relations.

Similarly, when Brahman is talked of as the absence of the world, there is an anuyogi-pratiyogi relationship between Brahman and the world. However, as shuddha Brahman, it has no relations with anything. The purpose of attributing the characteristic of the world's absence to Brahman is only for the purpose of denying reality to the plurality that is the world. Having served its purpose, the attribute is withdrawn. 

Brahman endowed with atyantAbhAva, the absolute absence of the world, is not pAramArthika because there is an expectation of a pratiyogi for such an entity. Therefore, the siddhikAra's motive is not in establishing abhAva as pAramArthika, it is only in meeting the pUrvapakshi's objection.

abhAva as vyAvahArika and its implications will be covered in the next post.

(To be continued)

(Originally posted on September 30th, 2017).